Opinion: CHAMPS campaign is looking like a winner

Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board - Nov 9, 2022

Parents of children with disabilities are hearing hopeful news from the Memorial Foundation.

The foundation’s Children’s Health and Medical Program capital campaign — CHAMPS — has already raised $9 million of the $15 million it needs to expand and improve services to meet the Yakima Valley’s dramatically rising needs.

At the rate things are going, the foundation should be able to get to work on the improvements this spring at Children’s Village and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s Family Birthplace.

Among the plans:

  • Adding 10 specialty exam rooms, another pediatric lab and upgrading behavioral health treatment rooms at Children’s Village, allowing it serve 1,000 more children each year.
  • Updating Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s Family Birthplace with state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Increasing the overall number of clinics offering specialty care for children with disabilities.

The demand is certainly there. At Children’s Village, for instance, requests for appointments have more than doubled in the past 10 years. The CHAMPS push should make it easier for parents to get appointments for kids needing orthopedic, cardiology, neurodevelopment, neurology and gastroenterology care. Children’s Village CEO Laura Crooks is hoping the expansion will also allow regular visits from specialists in urology and ear, nose and throat treatments from Seattle Children’s Hospital to provide local care.

At a troubling financial time for hospitals across the state — Memorial alone reported a $28.1 million budget shortfall for the first half of this year — the CHAMPS campaign is something to celebrate.

It’s also worth noting that as Tacoma-based MultiCare Health System Inc. takes over Memorial next year, children’s health care facilities in the Memorial system could see benefits under the new owner. Visiting Yakima last month as the buyout was announced, MultiCare CEO Bill Robertson singled out pediatrics as a priority area for the nonprofit health system, which already includes Tacoma children’s hospital Mary Bridge.

Meantime, the CHAMPS campaign continues. Memorial Foundation CEO Erin Black said her organization is hoping for wide community participation to raise the $6 million still needed.

“We already have a lot of support and are confident we can get this done,” she told the YH-R last month.

Considering the number of young lives that need specialized pediatrics care, we hope they get it done, too. To learn more about the fundraiser, visit champscampaign.org.

Opinion: CHAMPS campaign is looking like a winner

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